Here in the self-proclaimed dullest household in the world, we seem to have been getting our share of “adventure.” Of course, there will be those who will scoff at our definitions of “adventure,” “hullaballoo” and “big doings,” but -as far as we’re concerned, at least- it’s all relative.
Thursday night, after class, TGG went to get a co-worker and then drove out to a rural area (population, according to Wikipedia, is 300 souls,) and they spent the next day fishing, being chased by a tom turkey and taking pictures of a town so small that if you stand on one end to take a picture of the other you basically only have to do a 180 turn to do the same from a different angle. TGG came home with a ‘coon skin cap that is, for the most part, acrylic fur and which sports what we keep arguing is a cat’s tail rather than a raccoon’s. TGG is offended by this suggestion, but I’ve caught him comparing it to Miss Zelda’s and Miss Pipa’s tails more than once since Saturday at noon.
On Friday evening, since his older brother was gone, J had the excuse to act like he was “anxious” and we found ourselves having dinner at six, and fighting off the urge to fall asleep by seven-thirty. (See why we define “adventure” differently??? And here you thought I was exaggerating!) The closest we got to “adventure” that evening was ordering Thai food and having Dada drive out to pick it up (the Chinese restaurant delivers, the Thai place doesn’t…they are a block away from each other…) Having forgotten that it was First Friday, we stupidly decided that getting food from downtown was a good idea. It wasn’t. The food was ready in fifteen minutes, the round-trip drive takes fifteen minutes…Dada didn’t get home until nearly an hour after he got there…
On Saturday morning J was up and at ’em early. Too early for a Saturday, in our humble opinion, but for once this worked into our plans. Armed with his debit card, we took J shopping for his snacks, toiletries and other necessities. When I told him he was paying with his own money, he looked at the cart he had filled with new pillows (because his looked like deflated, day-old pastries already,) and other items he had selected with what reminded me of that WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! quality my face has when I’m the one who’s paying. Everything we found was on sale or clearance, so he didn’t spend an obscene amount of money, and I reassured him that he was far from broke after making these purchases.
This reaction was echoed at the grocery store when we took him there. He counted his items carefully, and even picked out some generic or store-brand versions of things he loves. I reminded him that sometimes he doesn’t like the generic versions (mainly when I pay for them,) but he insisted. By the end of the trip, he had spent about as much money as I calculate his little shopping excursions have been costing us, and he still had a good amount of money left over. He treated himself nicely, fairly, but not extravagantly…I guess we are the ones who need to exercise extravagance.
When we got home, J lovingly put away his purchases. He replaced the old pillows with the new, dressed his bed with new sheets and put aside the lame-looking bedspread that he has hated since I handed it to him with a big green CLEARANCE sticker. He replaced his bedroom lamp (a spindly, candlestick-like number that was so unbalanced we could hear it topple whenever he tried to turn it on in the middle of the night) with a sturdier one that cost him (shade and all) about thirty dollars.
On Sunday morning, the Master Shopper woke up at SIX and started roaming the house. TGG left for work and J stayed in the basement doing “only God knows what” as I stated to Dada when I convinced him that he needed to check on the kid. And THAT, my friends, is the worst mistake I made on Sunday. After this, J kept coming in and out of our bedroom saying COFFEE until, at around seven-fifteen, I got up and said “look, J, I don’t want coffee…I want to sleep, but I’ll be darned if you’re going to let me so UP I go…”
To say that we were cranky is to understate matters greatly. We were positively uncivilized! I told J, unequivocally, that I did NOT want coffee, that I wasn’t going to HAVE any coffee and to please stop insisting and go about his business. Ten minutes later, as we sipped our coffee (which J insisted on making in spite of our protestations,) our mood began to improve under the influence of the caffeine. All J had wanted, really, was to start the day because HE WANTED TO GO SHOPPING! The bookstore and the garden center were on his list, and there we found ourselves, adding seeds, potted plants and other assorted goodies to the cart. A perfunctory tap on my shoulder indicated “THIS ONE’S ON ME!” and J happily took the debit card, swiped it and waited for me to enter his PIN number. At the bookstore he bought a board game and a book, a broad smile decorating his already gorgeous face.
On Monday I went to his IEP meeting, and related these stories to teacher, speech pathologist and all else who were present. They were impressed with J’s reactions to his newfound purchasing power. I made it home ten minutes before J’s bus arrived, and was waiting for him still wearing my MOM OUT OF THE HOUSE clothes. He looked me up and down as if to ask “and WHERE have YOU been?” I explained I’d been out on errands, adventurous errands…the cab driver was very helpful, but quite a piece of work…and now we’d be heading home to get on with the Monday routine.
When we got home, J checked for bags from stores. No, darling, I said…I have not been shopping, I said. He checked my purse for loose change. No, darling…it all stayed with the weird cab driver, I said. SKIRT! Yes, my love…it’s spring…and I was out and about being a grown-up so I wore a skirt. STORE??? No, my sweet, I didn’t go to the store without you. POPCORN??? That was more like it…we were coming down from the anxiety my outfit caused him.
Together we stood in front of the microwave and put in a package of popcorn he had bought on Saturday. He grabbed a bowl and then went to his Proloquo to say I NEED A HUG. As I hugged him I couldn’t help wondering if he was just relieved I hadn’t been out “squandering” his money. This made me smile because, like TGG, he’s starting to understand the value of his own resources. We went upstairs and I was halfway down the hallway when I remembered something. J!, I said, a scrum cap! I went on Amazon and ordered you a new scrum cap!!!!
OH, NOOOOOOOO! I heard him say as he slumped on his bed. That one was for all the times I’ve reached the register and found that he’s snuck a movie into the cart without asking…